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Of Co-creation and Education

I had the privilege to be one of the fellow of Ashoka ChangemakerXchange in Philippines a week ago. For the first time, I attended a programme without (almost) no speaker. It was uneasy for sure (just as any typical Asian), it turned out to be one where we need to co-create the content, it can be a discussion, a debate or an informative sharing, does not even have to come from our core business.

So I put up the session to understand more about the thought process of how any form of education move from ideation to execution stage.

We were allowed to select the session while we were not leading any session as well. It is interesting to be able to pick on people’s minds. At the end of three hours, it was refreshing to be able to learn from so many brilliant minds and big hearts. On the last day, we were encouraged to wrap up the sessions by a call-to-action project, based on something that we have discussed.

In E-lluminate, we believe in co-creation too. When we tell people we aim to instill entrepreneurship mindset among the children, ‘The students are too young too learn about entrepreneurship’, ‘Let children be children’, we received feedback like these.

But here’s why- their potential is limitless (we saw that). We are very careful and conscious of how the a child’s time and energy is spent. Just because of that, they are at the phase to absorb new learning and new knowledge, so the question to ask ourselves: how to have fun and effective learning?

We work with refugee students to make sure they are aware this is not just about us, or the learning centre they are in, we want them to understand label is given by others, but respect and dignity is earned. No matter at which stage of life you are at, we are capable of doing something bigger than ourselves-this is the value that we want our children to have.

The power of co-creation comes from the realization of everyone can achieve something and play a part as long as we share the same vision. We could have been geographically or financially limited, but we know we can fit in the gap.
The realization is especially important for these students, it helps to boost their confidence and learn what responsibility is, for them to stretch their possibility, because at the end of the day, we are only limited by the boundaries we set for ourselves. It is a lesson that I wished I have picked up at an earlier stage of my life.

For multiple times, I asked educators or experienced coaches and mentors: how do you encourage empathy? how do you foster growth mindset?- which brings me to the reason of hosting a session in the programme.

We have embarked the journey of co-creating business ideas with the students (with an age range of 8 to 17) for some quite a while, and I am sharing my learning:

1. Break it down

Because they are children, there are more efforts done on connecting the dots rather than explaining the ‘definition’ or ‘concept’, or in a simpler term, walk the talk with them. Want to learn about costing? Purchase the materials together and spend enough time to shop with them-let them make decision and understand the reason of their decisions.

2. Reward the progress

We adults need rewards too, I will never say no to ice cream after a long day. Someone told me before the best way to promote growth mindset is never celebrate success or failure, but celebrate progress and positive attitude, and true enough, it is so important to not make any of them feel left out. Reward them when they give their opinion, reward them when they speak out, reward them when they are initiative, reward them when they attempt to analyze and be critical.

We are definitely not the best at this yet, but I appreciate the students to take on this with us. Our goal? Seeing more co-creation happen within or across the communities!

At the end of ChangermakerXchange programme, a few projects outline are up and will be pitched for a small amount of seed funding. Being in the programme reminded me how magical co-creation is, I am looking forward my project with my fellow mates already! (Not going to do a spoiler here, but it is going to be exciting!)

Ashoka Changemakerxchange: http://changemakerxchange.com/
*This article is originally appeared in https://medium.com/@minchia.elluminate

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